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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » OSC, worldwatch of march 23, 2008 and rich people in heaven

   
Author Topic: OSC, worldwatch of march 23, 2008 and rich people in heaven
Crocobar
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I was just reading OSC's latest worldwatch column, and his interpretation of Jesus' statement about the needle's eye and rich people in heaven surprised me. OSC writes:
quote:

...
What Jesus plainly meant was it's impossible for rich people to get into heaven...

I am not a religious person but I try to learn about religion and Christianity in particular, and it was my understanding for a while, that Jesus' words concerning needles and camels meant quite a different thing. Riches on their own do not make a man a sinner, they simply provide means, don't they? One can be rich and totally virtuous, it's just extremely difficult and unlikely because a rich person has means to do anything, while a poor man is sort of "stuck" with more virtuous way of life.

Use of money only gives you stuff that has no analogy in heaven, so you get depoendent on it and will suffer from withdrawal in afterlife, so to speak.

Wasn't Jesus' message closer to something like this rather than "rich man cannot get to heaven"?

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TomDavidson
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I think it also has to do something with the unlikelihood of acquiring and hoarding wealth while remaining moral. If you have a lot of cash, you probably are not being as good a person as you could be -- from one perspective.
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Crocobar
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Well, you might be born into it, for one.
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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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quote:
Originally posted by Crocobar:
One can be rich and totally virtuous, it's just extremely difficult and unlikely...

About as difficult as getting a camel through the eye of a needle. But as I said on a similar thread in Books, Films, Food and Culture, Jesus says afterward in the same passage that nothing is impossible with God. So with God's help a rich man can do the equivalent of putting a camel through a needle's eye.
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Sergeant
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How about the difference between being wealthy and rich? To me at least "rich" implies an extravagant lifestyle which is usually associated with pride and what not. Simply having a lot of money just means you are wealthy.

Sergeant

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Simply having a lot of money just means you are wealthy.
And: a) are not putting it to good use; b) have likely made your fortune by doing things that are less "good" than "profitable."

I'm not saying I necessarily share this opinion, mind you, but I can definitely see how someone might argue that any wealthy person has clearly not been living on behalf of others.

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Nathan2006
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Well, there was a verse in the Bible about earthly posessions coming to an end soon anyway (Moths, rust, etc.)

I think the point in the camel verse was that nobody can take their money into heaven... By the time one is dead and coming to heaven, one is no longer in posession of his earthly goods (including his money), thus, one is not rich. Everybody is poor (Monetarily) by the time they get to heaven.

However, I do like the interpretation that it is an impossible task (A rich man getting into heaven), that is made possible by God. Hmm.

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pooka
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quote:
So with God's help a rich man can do the equivalent of putting a camel through a needle's eye.
Not to get picky, but it is not merely with God's help, it is that God alone can.
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dkw
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Jesus was drawing on a moral tradition that runs through the Hebrew prophets – having more that you need while someone else is starving is immoral. Period. It doesn’t matter whether your acquisition of wealth was in other ways moral or not.

You can disagree with him on that point, but it takes an awful lot of “interpretation” to get around the fact that that was his position, and in more than just this verse.

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Occasional
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Is there any Scripture about the poor trying to take away the rich's money? That I think is the modern political sin, although not sure if it has always existed. Not that I am anything other than poor and wish I could find a rich person who would follow Jesus' advice about giving away what they have to a needy person like me. Just that I am against taking what isn't yours.
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dkw
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I suspect that in the global scheme of things all of us with clothes to wear, enough to eat, and an indoor place to sleep count as "rich." I'm pretty sure I'm going to be leaning on that "but with God all things are possible" clause when I try to justify my discretionary income. Tithing and other charitable contributions notwithstanding.
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Aris Katsaris
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"Is there any Scripture about the poor trying to take away the rich's money? "

Since people talking about this usually refer to things like taxation (not a Robin-hood like stealing outside the context of the law), then yes, there is a very clear example in scripture about the issue of taxation: Jesus had no problem with it.

He was asked DIRECTLY about taxation, and he told them that since money have the Caesar's face on it they belong to Caesar. That's where "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's" comes from.

Extending this to the modern context: As long as your money is printed by the US Government, the US Goverment has the right to take it away.

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TomDavidson
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Of course, the full quote is "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and render unto God that which is God's." Which things aren't God's?
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Aris Katsaris
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That interpretation doesn't really help the people complaining about taxation of course -- unless they proclaim themselves Gods. :-)
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